Tag Archives: Forty-something

The Ten People You’ll Meet at the Gym

1 Jul

gym

I once dated a man who told me he admired people like me.

“People like what?” I asked, puzzled.

“People who like going to the gym,” he replied.

I accepted the compliment as it was intended without telling him that, in fact, I often struggle with getting myself to the gym. Okay, here and there I enjoy it, normally when I’ve had a lot of caffeine, had an exceptionally good night’s sleep and have no agenda for the day; so maybe like three times a year. I go to the gym for the same reason I eat my vegetables – I’m an adult and it’s good for me. Both of my parents died fairly young from heart disease and, although I always thought I would die young (no idea why), surprisingly it hasn’t yet happened yet, so I might as well, um, fight to the death, so to speak. Also, it’s not that I’m afraid of being dead; it’s the whole process of dying thing. No long deaths for me, no letting my body fail while my mind is working overtime. Getting hit by a bus? I could live with that! Well, no, I probably couldn’t. But that would be preferable to a lingering, body and/or mind failing death. So, in the interest of self-preservation, I make my way to the gym four or five times per week.

Yes, I’m a regular at the gym and, as such, I’ve made a few observations. When you’re counting down those minutes on the elliptical trainer while watching The View (no need to judge me, as I have enough judgment for the both of us) I tend to people watch. When I’m curling those my hand weights I notice those testosterone pumped men grunting under the strain of 100 pound weights. I notice many other gym clichés and, to help you feel a little less intimidated by the gym, I’ve made a list of the people you can expect to run into there.

1)      The Girly Man – C’mon dude, there’s a reason those weights are pink. They’re girly weights. Stop using my weights, man up and grab something that weighs, you know, more than a beer bottle.

2)      The Dripper – That’s me next to you on the elliptical trainer. I love that you’re working hard and that you’re staying hydrated but man, I’m going to need some rubber waders to get past that flood on the floor next to you.

3)      Look at me, I’m not wearing any clothes – Yup, there she is, the 18-22 year old girl wearing, well, nearly nothing. Yes, she’s tiny. Yes, her waist is the same circumference as my right thigh. But really, do we need to see that she made it to the spa to get her bikini wax? And a sports bra is, in fact, a bra. Does she walk around the mall wearing only her push up and a pair of shorts? This girl has told Victoria’s secret to everyone. Put on some clothes, girl!

4)      The Weight Slammer– This guy isn’t lifting any girly, pink weights. No, he’s got huge, thick iron discs attached to the barbell which he’s grasping for dear life while ferociously bending and straightening his massive, sweat-soaked biceps. Here and there he grunts while pumping his arms and staring at his muscles. Fifteen reps done, he slams down the weights hard enough to make everyone look up and consider running towards the door frames in order to brace for the rest of what must surely be an earthquake. The weights bounce a few times. Dude, we get it, you’re strong.

5)      The Talker – She’s on the elliptical trainer, elipticalling (it’s now a verb) next to me. She doesn’t want to talk to me, thank God. No, she wants to talk to her friend on the phone. Loudly.

“Did you hear what Stacey said about Kevin last night?”

“Yes, she did!”

“Swear to God.”

“He totally should break up with her.”

Seriously, I cannot turn Whoopi Goldberg up any louder. Girl, you need to take that outside.

6)      The Texter – While quieter than The Talker, this one’s just as irritating. This one sits on the machine that you want to use and has a ten minute texting, Facebook or Twitter chat while you walk around the machine giving dirty looks that would probably be upsetting to The Texter should he/she look up. Oh, and when you drive out of the gym parking lot, this person nearly backs into you as, well, if texting and working out is that easy, texting and driving is a snap.

7)      The Wet Spot Guy – The gym provides free towels. On your way in, you’re expected to grab one and use it to wipe off the equipment after you use it. It’s simple etiquette. Nobody likes sitting (lying) in the wet spot. This guy just doesn’t get it. He thinks his sweat is made of gold and anyone would be lucky to get to share in it. *Note, the Wet Spot Guy most likely applies everything he believes about the gym to his bedroom. Yup.

8)      The Mute Karaoke Singer – This one has her ear buds firmly in place and is mutely rockin’ out to some unknown song, acting as if she’s completely alone and nobody is noticing. She does a bit of head-banging, some subtle dancing on the BOSU ball and lifts those weights to a beat she alone can hear. She seems to be a bit inspired by Olivia Newton John in the Let’s Get Physical video, only without the 80’s leotard and headband. *Note, The Mute Karaoke Singer is yours truly.

9)      The Gatherer – Can’t find the weights you’re looking for? That’s probably because he has them. In fact, he has seven different sets of weights gathered around his bench. When you walk over and ask if he’s currently using them all, he dramatically removes his ear buds, breathes a deep sigh, stares you down, and lets you know in no uncertain terms that, yes, he is using every one of them right now. Then he shoves his ear buds back in and returns to staring at his sweat soaked muscles in the mirror.

10)   The Recording Secretary – You’ll see many of these. The Recording Secretary brings his tiny notebook with him and, after each round on a piece of equipment, sits down to record how many reps he did at what weight and whatever other piece of information he finds relevant. Strange that, with all of the technology he may use on a daily (or perhaps hourly) basis, this is the one thing that he still feels must be on paper. The ink is running as the sweat drips on his notepad. I’m guessing his two-hour workout would really only last about twenty-minutes if he took out all of the writing time. Seriously, did you work-out? It’s a true/false question, not an essay.

So I go to the gym, not always loving it but always entertained by the people I see there. I also play mind games to get me there. When I don’t feel like going, I tell myself that I only have to stay for ten minutes. If, after ten minutes, I still don’t feel like being there, I leave (and perhaps go for ice cream). Nine out of ten times, after ten minutes, the adrenaline has kicked in and I’m lip-syncing to Springsteen.

Invitation To My Shower

15 Apr

You are cordially invited to a very special occasion.     It’s a shower!

“What?” you say. “I didn’t know you were getting married!”

Nope, it’s not a bridal shower.

“Oh my God, you’re pregnant!?”

Uh, not that I know of.

“Then what?” you ask.

You’re invited to my “Life Dream” Shower!       

Date: Now through May 1

Location: Online     

Where I’m Registered: Kickstarter

So what brought this on? Well, I believe you know about the book I’m writing. No? Oh, well you should read An April Fools Day Announcement. In order to help with the expense of researching my book, Drop Me Anywhere – A Travel Memoir with a Twist, I started a Kickstarter project on April 1st. With just over two weeks left, my Kickstarter could use a Kickstart. So I’m throwing myself a shower.

I’ve attended countless bridal showers in my life. These have ranged from a small group of women going on about how wonderful it is to find your soul mate and endless descriptions of the lace and sparkle explosion commonly known as a wedding gown, to a large party with both men and women, and booze and games including “How Well Do You Know Your Mate?” Whatever type of bridal shower it is, it’s expected that you will show up with a lovely gift of a household appliance, beautiful linens or perhaps a spa day to help the bride relax from the stress of wedding planning. Don’t worry, in order to make it easy for you, she’s made a list of exactly what you can buy her. You can find this list at Macy’s, Target, or even Amazon.com

A month or two after the bridal shower, you get the honor of attending the wedding of the happy couple. You’ll get all dressed up, sit through a ceremony that includes oohing and aahing as the bride walks down the aisle, hearing the beautiful vows a couple may have written for each other, and taking bets with your friends on how long it will last. Then you get dinner, dancing and drunk (not necessarily in that order). If you’re really lucky, you’re crowned as a bridesmaid. In this case, you get to spend $350 on a dress, not of your choosing, which you will most likely never wear again as its sole purpose is to make the one woman not wearing it appear more beautiful.

As the night nears the end, there’s one more unique custom. Men will gather for the throwing of the garter and the women, nay, the single women get the honor of lining up to catch the bridal bouquet. This generally ends in an elbow to the ribcage and someone wearing that, um, “beautiful” bridesmaid’s dress, on the floor assuring everyone, “I’m all right, it’s just a scratch” (could they not afford to give flowers to all of the single women instead of having them fight over one bouquet?). Following this she gets the joy of a man groping her leg to put on the garter while the guests yell, “Higher! Higher!” For all of this, all you have to do is give a present; yes, another one. Don’t worry, they’re registered.

Wedding Cartoon

After a year or two, you’ll receive another invitation; it’s a baby shower! The happy couple is expecting. They’re not only expecting a baby, but another gift. Yes, you’ll get a nice lunch and you’ll play games such as, “Whose baby picture is this?” and “How many squares of toilet tissue will it take to wrap around the mother-to-be’s belly?” You’ll also get to hear friends and family who already have children discuss pregnancy bladder issues and spit-up. Not to worry, to make the gift-giving easy they’ve, once again, registered at Macy’s, Target and Amazon. But they’ve also added Babies R Us. StorkWhile I’m not opposed to marriage – I’m actually a fan – I’m not a huge fan of big weddings. And I’m certainly not opposed to babies. As most who know me will tell you that, given the choice of spending time with adults or spending time with kids, I’ll always choose the kids (they’re usually much more entertaining). I always wanted kids, it just never happened (take a look at Grace and you’ll better understand).

Since I’ve never had a bridal shower, a baby shower, or a wedding, I’ve decided to have a “Life Dream” shower. I’m asking that all of that money you’ve saved on not buying me those life event presents, you consider spending on my shower gift. I’m not registered at Macy’s, Target, Amazon or even Babies R Us, but I am registered at Kickstarter. In return, I have the best party favors ever! No, they’re not chocolates with the happy couple’s name in gold leaf, nor are they candles that smell like vanilla with a hint of orchid. They’re books, tote bags, complimentary motivational speaking engagements, opportunities to contribute ideas to the book, and even paid lodging to join me on a Drop Me Anywhere trip. As long as I hit my goal, I’ll guarantee that I won’t return your gift as, what ever you give will be the perfect size and color.

I’ll keep an eye out for your RSVP on the Drop Me Anywhere Kickstarter page. Thanks for celebrating my “Life Dream” shower with me.

 

Come Fly With Me

5 Jan

Drop Me Anywere Logo

Hello all. Yes, I know, it feels like forever since I’ve written here. I’m sure you were worried about me. I appreciate the Get Well cards, E-mails and flowers you all sent. Oh wait, yours must have been lost in the mail. What with Christmas and the UPS package delivery fiasco, I’m sure your ‘Get Well’ card will be arriving any day now.

Actually, I wasn’t sick at all (except perhaps for the traditional New Year’s Day hangover). I’ve been busy with a new project. It’s called Drop Me Anywhere! “What is it?” you ask (thanks for asking). Well, a little backstory.

You all remember I left my job at Disney Cruise Line for some very much needed R&R (you can read about it in Sabbatical). It’s been wonderful. I did a lot of yoga, drank good wine and scotch, reconnected with friends, wrote, traveled a little, had surgery (remember that? No? Read here) and generally got my body, mind and relationships healthy again. When I was ready, I began looking for jobs that I would again be passionate about. It turns out most of these jobs were overseas, with many in England, where I would like to try living. I applied for many of them. Some even contacted me to ask me to apply. And some led to interviews. It was all very promising until they found out I’m an American. When companies figured out they’d need to sponsor a visa for me, I became, well, less desirable. Yes, I’ve had relationships where I was told I was high-maintenance (which I continue to dispute), but when it comes to a job, apparently easy is more important than qualified and passionate (wondering if easy is more important than passionate in a relationship too – hoping not).

During this time, my friend April texted me with a few questions.

“What three things would your dream job entail?” was one question.

After just a minute of consideration I answered confidently, “Writing, Travel and Helping the World! I’d settle for two out of three.”

As, at this time in my life, I’m not settling, and nobody was offering me a job that I felt I would be passionate about, I’ve decided to create my own. Yup, full-time travel writing. Yikes!!

Drop Me Anywhere came about through a Twitter travel chat I was participating in. These are organized chats with 5-10 questions using hashtags (#) to delineate (big word – writer here) the specific chat.

One question was, “If you had a travel show, what would it be called and what would it be about?”

“Mine’s called ‘Drop Me Anywhere,’ I answered, “and it’s about traveling without a plan!”

The response was overwhelming, with people telling me I needed to film a pilot, get it on YouTube and make a Kickstarter campaign. Wow! Please believe me when I say I had not thought of the title or the topic until about thirty-seconds before I typed that answer.

I let the idea rest for a couple of weeks figuring out that, although I’ve done on-camera interviews, my comfort zone truly is writing. I contacted a well-known travel writer who I had an E-mail exchange with about a story he was writing a few months before.

“Is this anything?” I asked

He wrote me back telling me he loved the idea and what might be the best way to go about it. I guess it’s something! Next thing I know, Drop Me Anywhere was born.

So what makes it different? It’s the first interactive travel writing and reading site. It’s a partnership between you and me. You get to vote on where to send me without a plan. Yup, that’s right, you get to tell me where to go (insert your joke here). I’ll generally leave within 2 weeks or so without researching. I’ll write about the adventure and also provide information and links to vendors, lodging and activities. But wait, there’s more. . .

I’ll be spending a day, or part of a day volunteering for a non-profit organization I find over there. And after that, I’ll write about them on Rebel-With-A-Cause so you’ll know about them too.

One more twist to this new project – I’m calling it “Kickstarter Miles.” It has nothing to do with Kickstarter, but airfare is expensive, even when booking in advance. With just two weeks’ notice well, even a trip to Santa Monica can be expensive. So, if you have an extra few thousand frequent flyer miles that you won’t use in the foreseeable future, how about throwing them my way? Just click on the “Donate Miles” page and you can contact me to show me how generous you are. You’ll also see what great rewards you’ll receive for your donation.

Finally, you’ll be happy to know that I’ll be my usual snarky self on Drop Me Anywhere, so we all get to make fun of my life. And I’ll still be posting on My Own Adventure here and there as, when traveling or not, I still find this an amusing world and it helps those voices in my head express themselves. Rebel-With-A-Cause will remain informative and interesting, yet snark-free, as I’ll make fun of my own life, but not of someone else’s. These will be people who do good work and I hope my telling of their stories will do them justice.

So, please click on the Drop Me Anywhere link read a bit more about it. Please subscribe and vote (yes, you can vote without subscribing but this way you’ll get an E-mail when I post about the voting results).

I must go to check my mailbox now as I’m sure your Get Well card will have arrived today.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

10 Nov Broken Heart

When I was 18 my dad took me to the bank to apply for my first credit card. Dad was a banker and, in fact, so was I (a drive-thru teller when I was 17). With dad co-signing, I was approved. The card was with Michigan National Bank, the company both dad and I worked for. Dad was very clear, this credit card was because I was driving a ’76 Impala into the heart of a not so great part of Detroit (yes, there are good parts) to attend Wayne State University each day. This card was for emergencies only. Credit was not something to be taken lightly.

Fast forward 26 years and Michigan National Bank no longer existed. Dad passed away nine years previously and my credit card was transferred a few times to various banks, the final one being Chase. I followed dad’s advice through the years and handled my credit responsibly. I saw the benefit of this in great rates for car loans and a mortgage loan.

Over the years, I tried to get dad taken off the card as, well, he was dead. I didn’t really see the need for him to be on there as, if the saying is true, ‘you can’t take it with you’ (and I don’t think heaven has a gift shop that you pass through at the end of your life like on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride). And my version of heaven has nothing in the realm of ‘buy now, pay later.’

Then the recession hit and my industry collapsed (read about all the fun in I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help). I was late on my mortgage. I was never late on a credit card (my friends know I hate tardiness in anyone). Yet, after 26 years of never being late, I received a letter from Chase saying they were ending our relationship. What? They’re breaking up with me?Broken HeartIt’s now three years later and I recently received a letter from my ex, Chase. It seems they want to get back together. So in response, here is my answer to that letter:

Dear Chase,

I received your letter asking me to get back together. I must admit that it came as quite a surprise. You see, while I was having many challenges at the time you ended our relationship, I didn’t think you were one of them. I didn’t know we were having trouble? I mean, I tried not to be needy. I thought we communicated well. You sent me letters telling me you respected our privacy. I read every word you wrote. We traded E-mails. I thought you loved me.

The funny thing is, you still loved my dad. He continued to receive credit card offers from other companies. As you were the only one he was still associated with, I assumed you referred these people to him. He was dead and he had better credit than me.

So now, three years after you broke up with me, you write me and want to get back together. Do you have any idea how much you hurt me? I mean, I expected that behavior from Bank of America, or even American Express. But from someone who I had my longest relationship with? And you don’t even mention our history. There’s no apology, no, “I hope you’re doing well.” Your letter sounds as if you don’t even remember me.

So Chase, after very little consideration, I am tearing up your letter (or maybe I’ll burn it) and forgetting you. I am happy without you. I’ve gotten over our break-up and have moved on. I can’t do this anymore. As Taylor Swift said, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.” The love is gone.

Sex and the Single Writer

16 Sep Writing-blogging-clipart

I know what you’re thinking. “Where has Carole gone? I’m going through a bit of snarky withdrawal.” I’m with you on that. Well, I’d love to say I was too busy traveling the world, doing crazy things and talking to strangers (never learned that lesson) to put my fingers on a keyboard. But that’s not the case. In reality, I’ve been lying low. Yes, there was a weekend trip to Las Vegas but, as we all know, what happens there stays there. I’m now preparing for a little business travel in my old line of work. Nowhere exotic (unless you consider Philadelphia and Chicago exotic), but it will keep me off the streets for now (at least in Arizona). And I’m sure I’ll find lots of amusing people and situations to share with you.

In the meantime, I thought you might be interested in why I write. It’s not something I do for fame – I’m not exactly a household name. . .yet. Fortune? Oh yes, rolling in the dough here. Writing this from my 21 room mansion with a bowling alley and airplane hangar (going airplane shopping as soon as I finish this). No, I write because I must. It’s like an unexplainable build-up that I must release. Yes, it sounds like an orgasm and well, perhaps it’s comparable.

First there’s the subject idea. When an idea hits it’s like seeing that guy across room. My heart flutters a bit and I lose track of my thoughts. Then there’s the research – traveling somewhere, talking to people or reading up on a subject. In comparison to sex, or the steps leading up to it, this would be the date. We meet for a drink and dinner to get to know each other. Sometimes, the research is already done, as reading something, having a chance encounter or traveling somewhere is what has inspired me. In the dating world, this would be considered slutty behavior and comparable to jumping in bed with someone.

Now that I’ve researched the subject, or spent a few weeks getting to know the guy, I am ready to do the dirty deed. It begins slowly – foreplay. I have notes, a few sentences or words that I know I want somewhere in the article. I start on an introductory paragraph – think of it as kissing. Before long, I am well involved in the words (ok, completely opposite of sex unless we’re tallkin’ dirty talk). Now I’m totally immersed in the writing and the ringing iPhone barely registers. Things become very organic and instinct takes over.

Finally, I come to the ending paragraph. But this is not the release. Not yet, anyway. I only read over what I have written after it is completed. You don’t stop in the middle of having sex to analyze whether it’s good or not. It’s only after, when the deed is done, that you lay there and take a deep breath and think, ‘that was amazing!’ This is the orgasm!

**Please note, sometimes I read through the article and think, ‘this is crap.’ This I do not publish. After all, bad sex is normally still pretty darn good whereas bad writing is just bad.

 

 

Going Back in Time

10 Aug

Last week I had another travel adventure. After traveling to 50 countries and 50 U.S. states, where’s a girl go to find some adventure? Singapore perhaps? Bora Bora? Oh so close but not quite. Last week’s travel was to the tourist mecca of Detroit, Michigan.

If you’re quite finished laughing I’ll explain. I grew up in Oak Park, Michigan and lived in the state until I was 24 years old when I walked into the bank I had worked at for seven years and declared, “I quit! I’m going to sail the Caribbean.” And I did. Exactly where is Oak Park you ask. Well, if you were from Michigan I would hold up my right hand and point to a spot somewhere in the pad on the bottom of my palm over towards my thumb (it’s a Michigander thing). As you may be from somewhere else, I’ll defer to the movie reference. You’ve probably heard of the Eminem movie, 8 Mile. Well, I grew up at 9 Mile (we’re very creative with our street names there).

As I have very little family left in the area, I don’t often get back. Last week I headed to Detroit for my high school class reunion. Yup, 10 years (ok 30 years, but I graduated as a fetus). Please note that I will henceforth be referring to this event as my 10 year reunion. You can choose to believe what you like.

Class of 83

The weekend included many events beginning with a tour of my high school. Yup, all those years I avoided going to summer school and here I was, on a Friday morning in the middle of summer, sitting in the high school cafeteria. Suddenly I felt like Molly Ringwald in the Breakfast Club. After coffee and bagels we were greeted by Mr. Washington, the current principal. While he was telling us about the current structure of the school district and the accomplishments of Oak Park High School I had a moment of panic. I whispered to my former classmate sitting next to me, “Oh my God, we’re older than the principal!” A few minutes later Mr. Washington put me at ease by mentioning that he was a graduate of a neighboring high school two years prior to us. There is a God!

After a very surreal two-hour tour during which we saw some of our old classrooms, the science lab, the planetarium, the football field, the band and choir rooms and, my favorite part, the auditorium and the little theatre. I spent much time in these as I was a theatre geek (my claim to fame was performing in repertory theatre when I was 17 as Peppermint Patty in the musical Snoopy). We ended up at the swimming pool (indoor, it’s Michigan for goodness sake). As Mr. Venetelli, our high school Spanish teacher had joined us, he also gave up some secrets. So, the teachers used to going swimming during lunch. What? Our teachers were, well, real people? This of course led to the question of which teachers were sleeping with which other teachers. With a couple of exceptions, Mr. Venetelli gave up very little information (either that or our teachers were a bit boring).

From there it was lunch at the Coney Island. If you’re from Michigan, you will understand this. If not, that is a reason to head to the Motor City for a visit. Our high school hangout was Davison Coney Island. A mere half-mile from the high school it was where we would go to lunch. The experience on this day was a bit different. In high school, a not-so-pleasant lady would come around to each table with a cigar box and students were required to pay before receiving any food or drinks. While it seemed rude at the time, looking back as an adult it made a lot of sense (although she could have been more pleasant, but I’m sure she was over us). If I had never before felt like an adult, this would finally be the day I did. After we ate, our checks were laid on our tables with a smile. It was like a Bar Mitzvah. No cigar box! Today, you are a man (uh well, you get it).

The next night was the big event. Yes, the official 10 year reunion evening. As I was staying at the hotel where the event was taking place, I had a little pre-prom party in my hotel. And, as some of my classmates cleverly left their spouses at home, this gave all of us the opportunity to not walk in alone. It also gave us the opportunity to enjoy some liquid courage before heading down.

One of the first people I ran into was my middle school music teacher. Coincidentally, her brother was my very first boyfriend. His name was Robert Green. I was a cute but awkward 13 year-old (at least I felt awkward) and he was a chubby 13 year-old boy with braces. The perfect match. He was not a good kisser (we were 13. Who was?) He bought me an engraved heart stickpin for my birthday. I was not even remotely in love with him, just with the idea of having a boyfriend (try not to judge, I was 13). Anyway, his sister was sure to inform me that he is recently divorced and showed me a photo of him with his 15 year-old son. Surreal. Next I run into Jeff, the jock. I tell him it’s good to see him and he immediately asks, “Where do I know you from?” Uh, I don’t know, high school perhaps???

Reunion night

The next day was a picnic in the Oak Park Park. This is the place we all grew up in. Whether it was pushing our dog down the slide, sledding at the Oak Park hill, playing on the train (the funnest train that never moved), playing softball in little league or hanging out while skipping school. It was a weekend filled with great memories and OMG moments.

After spending time with old friends the following are the random thoughts which crossed my mind or conversations I had during the weekend: Do you stay in an unhappy marriage? Hell, do you even get married? What about kids? Crap, I forgot to have kids. Wow, I’m glad I didn’t have kids. Do I want to be in this relationship and have someone needy now that my kids are grown? Do I need to be needed? Being single, if I die, how long until someone finds my body? How strange is it to talk with kindergarten friends about buying new appliances? And to drink wine with them instead of milk from the milk machine? Instead of white or chocolate the question becomes white or red? Pop? It’s a Midwest thing (I am now a soda person, although I drink neither).

Finally, what did I learn from my 10 year reunion? Life is hard. I’m not complaining. And I’m not saying that my life has been any tougher than anyone else’s. Everybody has tough times. Some more than others. When you look at it, I won the birth lottery. From where I was born, to my parents, to my childhood friends. Lucky. Oh, and if you have the chance to go to your 10 year reunion (or perhaps, 30 year)? Go. Facebook is not the same.

If Disney Characters Worked at the DMV

21 Jun

I recently received a letter from my friendly Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We’re contacting you in regards to your driver’s license which expires in the year 2030. In Arizona we issue 30 year licenses because our state government is a little crazy (Gov. Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example). Still, we understand that you’ve had a stressful few years and perhaps you look a little different from when you first moved to this beautiful state. Therefore, we kindly request that you present yourself, along with your check for $12, to your local DMV to obtain a new photo.”

Are you kidding me? Don’t they realize that I look exactly the same as I did back in 2000 (perhaps even a little better)? So, in order to continue to drive legally, I reported to the DMV.

You know it’s a bad sign when you pull into the parking lot of the DMV and there’s not a parking space to be found. After circling multiple times, I finally grabbed an open space and, with a growing sense of dread, headed into the unremarkable, brick building.

As I entered I heard numbers being called.

“B129. E011, G726”

It felt like I was in a giant BINGO game. I headed over to the picture taking area, where I was promptly told I had to go back to the long line near the entrance in order to receive my ‘paperwork.’ What ‘paperwork?’ I have the letter that says what I need.

“F541, G727, C232”

Understanding that, just like the security line at the airport, this is one of those times that you simply say, “Yes Ma’am,” I headed over to the dreaded line. This line had about thirty people standing in it, all looking stone-faced as if they just stepped out of the latest zombie movie. I stood there and waited. . . and waited.

“E012, D592”

Finally, I reached the front of the line where I was handed a form to complete and a number. I was told to wait for my number to be called and then I could go get my picture taken. As I sat down I asked others how long they had been waiting. With a smirk they replied, “Over an hour.” Oh joy!

I completed my form and waited. I sat there thinking about the Skype chat I just had with a former Disney co-worker prior to my trip to the DMV. Perhaps it was that conversation, or the incessant number calling, or the odorous gentleman sitting next to me (Dude, I’ll hold your spot. Go home and take a shower!) but I somehow found myself escaping into a daydream. And as the numbers grew more and more faint. . .

“B130, C233, F092”

I daydreamed that Disney Characters had taken over the DMV.

DMV for PowerPoint

As I drive my beautiful car ‘Lightening McQueen’ into the parking lot of the building marked, ‘Motor Vehicle Department – The Happiest Place on Earth,’ I see various people dressed in turquoise pointing me (using two fingers, of course) through the parking lot. I am directed to an empty space about a mile from the building’s entrance where I park and am immediately collected by a long tram. I sit and am told to keep my hands inside and remember where I parked (uh, isn’t that why I have that emergency alarm on my key FOB? So I don’t have to remember). I am instructed to wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop before exiting and to enjoy my day at the DMV.

“Wait, my day?” I ask the driver. “But I only need a photo.”

“Aahhh yes. You should plan on spending the day as we want you to get your money’s worth.”

I walk through the entrance to the tune of “Be Our Guest” and, in an attempt not to wait in the ridiculously long line at the front, I find a window with nobody waiting. I approach the employee, who seems to have the power to read minds as he corrects me to tell me he is a Cast Member (perhaps he’s a Genie). I ask if I can get a Fast-Pass to go directly to the photo line.

His response, “That is one wish I cannot grant.”

I do the walk of shame over to the never-ending main information line and wait. . . and wait (some things never changes). When I finally reach the front there is a boy working the desk. Well, I think he’s a boy. He looks young but a little wooden. I tell him I just need a new photo for my license. He hand me a form to complete and a number. As he tells me the wait shouldn’t be very long I swear I see his nose grow longer.

I sit down and complete my form. Once I’m finished, I take the opportunity to people watch. I see a man step up to a window where the beautiful, yet over-dressed, blonde behind the desk immediately slams down her closed sign exclaiming, “It’s 12 o’clock! I must go!” And mumbles something about a pumpkin and mice.

Clock strikes 12

There is a really short Grumpy guy working the next window. And next to him is a really beautiful lady that says she’s much too sleepy to work and needs to go take a long nap. At the end of the counter is a tall guy with a Goofy grin on his face.

All of them are supervised by a scowling lady walking behind them and looking over their shoulders. When she starts screaming at one cast member who must have a skin condition as he has spots all over him, he seems frightened and apologetically responds, “I’m sorry Miss DeVille.”

 DMV Ticket Finally, I hear, “A044.”

Cartoonish birds and butterflies start to circle me and I hear the song, ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’ as I skip up to the photo window (yes skip, I’m beginning to enjoy my fantasy). I’m greeted by, what seems to be another boy, this time wearing a funny green hat. His name-badge says Peter. He seems to have a tiny ball of light moving around him that he talks to. Perhaps he’s schizophrenic. He asks what he can help with and I tell him I need a new driver’s license photo as, apparently, the DMV thinks I might look a little older than I did in the previous one.

He leans in a gives me his wise advice, “Never grow-up!” Peter Pan

“I’m doing my best!” I explain.

He instructs me to stand in front of the green screen while he takes my picture. I imagine all kinds of background inserted on the green screen in my photo. He then tells me to think of a happy thought, smile and snaps the photo. Finally I’m told to go to “the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”

“What? I’ll be here all night ‘til tomorrow morning?”

“Just take a seat,” he says.

I sit. Eventually, I hear, “A044.”

When I step up to the window I encounter a beautiful red-head who is wearing a dress that is much too tight. She hands me my new driver’s license while asking if I need anything else. When I mention that the service here is pretty bad, she tells me that it’s not so, it’s just drawn that way. Uh, ok.

At long last, new driver’s license in hand, I head to the door while whistling a happy tune. As I leave there’s a giant mouse standing there waving and shouting, “See ya real soon!” Uh, I really hope not.

Mickey Mouse

“A044. Last call for A044.”

I’m shaken out of my daydream, so I stand up and yell, “BINGO!”

I look around at everyone staring at me, put my head down, get my picture taken and take a seat to wait some more.

Perhaps if Disney owned the DMV it would be a bit more fun. But then again, a driver’s license would cost more than a car.

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